Tristan Fairholm is one of 15 juvenile delinquents selected to learn magic…for a purpose that is kept secret from them. When they at last learn that the magic they have harvested causes death and ruin in a bid to keep the world from collapse, they must make a choice: do they fight it? Or do they use it?
I’m a fan of series that can take the idea of magic and root into a connection with nature. The combination of science and magical powers takes fantasy and adds a bit of normalcy at least enough to make you stop and wonder for a moment what if magic does exist. The ability to capture a reader in that moment of questioning the reality of magic makes for great story telling and Vickers is a great storyteller.
Tristan has been living in a juvenile detention facility since convicted of manslaughter for causing a tragic accident that resulted in his brother’s death. No one believes his story of an earthquake forcing him and his brother to flee their home but even so he feels the pain of not protecting his brother. He bares the scars of that tragedy physically and emotionally. Cut off from family he feels abandoned and alone until one day a mysterious woman shows up and places him on a plane with 14 other teens, most from juvenile facilities like him.
They are taken to a remote school where they begin a strange educational journey into a world where magic exists. Excited and confused they all delve into the mysteries of learning magic until they realize that the knowledge they are gaining comes at a cost and that the school is hiding some sinister realities that will force them to make some difficult and dangerous choices. Magic may be inviting but it does come with consequences.
The storyline is complex in ways that aren’t obvious. Every conversation that seems unimportant has a point that intersects with an overall bigger picture and once you get to the ending it all unravels and makes sense. There may be a Harry Potter and Hogwarts feel to the book but the plot takes a different path and produces a unique tale where the line between good and bad is greatly blurred. The characters are all flawed making them far more believable and there are plenty of twists to keep you wondering what will happen next. I’ve passed this book onto my tween daughter and her friends. They’re enjoying it as much as I did and we can’t wait to read more about Tristan and his magic school friends.